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Thread: Last Man and Shilling - Semper Fi HPP AustraliAAR

  1. #61
    Tzar of all the Soviets RGB's Avatar
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    So far all pretty historical except what that thing with the Ma clique. Poor China.
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  2. #62
    Saithis,

    Loving this AAR so far. As I've never played HPP (I'm waiting until they finish a stable FTM release), I'm curious to see how this differs from vanilla.

    As for resources, is there any chance you can grab Indonesia from the Netherlands? Between that, Siam, and Indochina, you should be set.

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  3. #63
    Lady of the North Star Demi Moderator Saithis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGB View Post
    So far all pretty historical except what that thing with the Ma clique. Poor China.
    This game has been oddly historical so far - usually my games are a bit more bizarro-wacky. At some point I had World War 2 start in January 1938 between Germany and the Allies of France, Britain, Italy and Yugoslavia. In that same game, USSR won and escalated the Far East border conflicts, leading to a full-scale Soviet invasion of Manchukuo, China and Korea, and eventually an invasion of the Japanese Home Islands itself, launched via Sakhalin into Hokkaido and then North Japan. Just to give a taste of what horrifying events can come to pass in HPP if you're unlucky.

    Quote Originally Posted by TankOfMidgets View Post
    Saithis,

    Loving this AAR so far. As I've never played HPP (I'm waiting until they finish a stable FTM release), I'm curious to see how this differs from vanilla.

    As for resources, is there any chance you can grab Indonesia from the Netherlands? Between that, Siam, and Indochina, you should be set.

    - Tom
    Thanks. :) Unless I wait until post-war, there will be no easy method of me getting the Dutch East Indies on a permanent basis. What I can do that will effectively work just as well until a US/British D-Day (hopefully) saves the mainland is allow the Japanese to march into Indonesia first, then counter-attack so that I occupy the occupied territory. As the Netherlands will be a government in exile at this point, I believe this means that the territory will return to my direct control and that as an ally I won't take any revolt risk on it, meaning I get full exploitation. The problem is that's only temporary occupation, I have to return it as soon as we have enough VPs restored to liberate the Netherlands. Indochina and Siam are easier, I can just directly puppet/annex them as they'll be Japanese puppets by then, in all likelihood.



    Chapter 1.5 - Slippery Slopes of War


    -=[ Interlude: I have some unfortunate news, in two parts. The later the game has gotten, the more impossible it has gotten to continue playing this as a multiplayer game - HPP seems to get unstable in multiplayer and the longer it goes, the faster and faster my game suffers desynch. Although the New Zealand Army has been built up to a respectable standard, its navy and air force are still not worth mentioning and she still only has 10 IC, so it's not terrible. I will probably load her up one last time when the war starts to give her main army to myself as an expeditionary force - that way I can still maintain control of the ANZAC military.

    What is more unfortunate to my plans is that the decision to bring Australia into the war against Germany also drags me into the Allies. I wanted to avoid sitting in the Allies so that I could enjoy freedom in the postwar environment and I don't actually recall how easy it is to get out of the Allies in HPP (I know it's near-impossible in vanilla). I reserve the right to plausible individual negotiation, since HOI3's engine doesn't permit individual diplomacy with another faction if you're in a faction yourself! It doesn't mean I'm going to chicken out of a war with Japan - I'd never abandon the Empire like that - but I would like to be able to deal with any strange situations as they come. ]=-




    War, it seemed, was becoming a slippery slope in the 1930s. Mussolini's confidence had been bolstered by the conciliatory stance of the Western Allies - without warning, he struck out at one of the few minor states to remain unmolested by French and British guarantees - Albania. Laying antique claims to the city of Durazzo among other things, he sought to reforge the Roman Empire by force and issued his declaration of war upon the small country shortly after the signing of the Treaty of Munich. Britain and France remained silent to Zog's pleas for help, and two days later, the Italians sailed into harbour. Taskforce flagship Giulio Cesare fired only a single volley of its main cannons upon the city before the Albanian defenders surrendered unconditionally. The Italians had spread effortlessly into the Balkans, and with a foothold upon these shores, it would be difficult to keep them out if other prizes caught their eye.



    In April 1939, the great battles of the Far East resumed as a huge clash erupted across the entire Manchurian-Soviet border. Japanese troops were launching a major offensive into Mongolia. Although the Soviet troops in this region outnumbered the Japanese forces arrayed against them, the Japanese had brought armour and heavy artillery with them, learning from the mistakes of their last conflict. The Mongolian troops were mainly light cavalry supported by a division of soviet infantry and some regiments of local armed militias. Japan on the contrary had brought three divisions of infantry and an armoured cavalry division fresh off the front lines from China - experienced and led by General Yasuoka Masaomi, a respected tank commander in the Imperial Japanese Army.



    Australian intelligence soon reported the fall of Southern Sakhalin to Soviet forces, but there was little word on the success of the interior offensive. Australian intelligence in Japan was poor - several attempts had been made to insert agents, but they were often located and forced to escape the country or were outright killed. Australia was as surprised as anyone when they heard the news from the Soviets.



    Japan had won in Mongolia and in Siberia itself, thrusting deep into the Soviet Puppet and resisting every counterattack. The Soviets were dismayed by their defeat, but Japan's gains were not as impressive as she had hoped. They had been unable to break the backbone of Mongolian resistance and the natives were more interested in joining the Soviets than becoming a Japanese puppet. Disappointed but realizing they could not beat the Soviet Union in a prolonged war, a peace treaty was called. Japan had failed to defeat the Soviets decisively, a failure that most hoped would not come back to haunt them.



    This piece of good news was accompanied by more good news from Australia. Her factories were working harder and more productive than ever before, morale was at an all-time high and the economy was flourishing. She was rapidly turning into a success story for the free world, and economists across the world were hailing the way she had mostly left the Great Depression behind. Only Germany had made such an impressive economic recovery from that level of decline, and now Australia was burgeoning; in spite of this, however, she was still viewed as a second rate power. This was for good reason, according to the last census and accompanying projections, Australia currently had just under 7 million people - this was barely more than a tenth of Britain itself and less than Portugal, who had 7 and three-quarters. The population of the Islanders and Papua New Guinea were negligible and would not ail her troubles.

    Australia's radicals both had it in their minds that Australia should attempt to bring New Zealand into a union. There were provisions in the Australian constitution as laid out in 1901 that would ease the union, and the only reason the union had not come to fruition before was fears of the repression of the New Zealand aboriginal population, in spite of Australian assurances that the Maori would be well-treated. With the approaching war and the difficulties ahead, Australian far-right and far-left both saw the oncoming war and its difficulties as a time of necessity. New discussions would be raised for the possibility of the annexation of New Zealand, if sufficient concessions could be made for her. The Seventh State would bring 1.75 million people into Australia and increase her industrial output by almost 16%. The New Zealanders were skeptical about this proposed union, and it was unsure if it would come to pass - diplomatic attempts were being made nonetheless.

    -=[ Interlude: I have no immediate plans to force a diplomatic annexation of New Zealand through event/decision, as this is not actually in the regular HPP mod, but I do actually consider it a plausible possibility this early after the freedom of the two states, but a difficult one. It would require, in my mind, sufficiently low neutrality, very high relations with New Zealand, and the Open Society law to overcome New Zealand's fears of Maori repression. Possibly even enough threat against New Zealand for it to feel the union is necessary. I've considered it as an option for later in the game, if others think it isn't game-breaking or threatening. I consider the story important but I'm also interested in playing this fair and not cheating, so I won't take any action that would unfairly or unrealistically benefit me ]=-



    News came in from Europe - without the protection of the Treaty of Munich, the Czechs were soon forced into more humiliation. The remaining territory of the Czechs were annexed into Germany under threat of war, under claims of the ancient Kingdom of Bohemia's membership in the First Reich. The eastern Slovakian states were partitioned into the Kingdom of Hungary. Hitler had promised to the German people's longest friends that their Kingdom would rise from the ashes and be restored to its ancient power. The Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye had been a far more brutal strike against Austria-Hungary than the Treaty of Versailles had been, and the world's oldest monarchy had been dismantled by force. The Hungarians were still angry towards the west for this strike, and when the Germans offered them a hand of friendship, they eagerly took it. The German Axis would now include Budapest in its list of capitals, and Hungary brought a fairly large and modern army to the front lines. The situation for the Allies would only continue to worsen.


    The remaining territory of Czechoslovakia was partitioned between Germany and Hungary.

    Although Hitler supposedly had only a minimum of interest in the Czech interior, it was an important strategic move for Germany. Prague was a major centre of industry and one of the oldest and most prestigious cities in Europe. Nazi morale had skyrocketed, and even more important than that, it meant that the Germans no longer had to occupy a long internal border against a potential enemy. The partition with Hungary was a great diplomatic success as the Germans now only required a minimum of armies in Bavaria to ensure security of her borders, and now the bulk of its forces were positioned near the borders of Poland. German eyes were turning to one of her last historic heartlands - the Danzig Corridor, an important part of Prussia which had been stolen from them in Versailles. Nazi ego would never be healed until this land was returned to Germany; war was inevitable as long as it remained with Poland.



    Meanwhile in Australia, war preparations continued. The training of officers was further up-scaled and an emphasis on special forces and intensive training was introduced into the military. New forces would already be elite and ready for battle, but they would now take as much as four months of training before they were ready for combat.




    News arrived from China that Yan'an had fallen to Japanese advances. The Japanese were advancing on every front and Mao was forced to pull back south before the city was encircled. Facing death or shame, he chose to rescue those survivors of the People's Liberation Army still under his command. Marching south, they crossed into Nationalist lines and sought refuge - Mao accepted the Kuomintang's terms, surrendering himself into voluntary house arrest, but permitting him to continue the fight alongside his men against Japan. In his words: "China needs unity more than it needs Mao. There will be more men to take up the banner of the global revolution after I am gone."



    August 1939, more dramatic news struck Europe. The Yugoslavian Government had boldly declared alliance with Italy and Germany, fearing their inevitable invasion and prepared to make sacrifices for this goal. Central Europe was almost entirely under Hitler's shadow now, and there was nothing the Allies could do about it. This diplomatic move, however, was not all it had seemed to be...


    Mass uprisings across Yugoslavia spark fears of civil war.


    Just a week after the Yugoslavian Treaty, mass uprisings were reported in Croatia and Bosnia. Just days later, the government was couped by pro-democratic military leaders who refused to fall prey to becoming fascist puppets. Large quantities of Yugoslavian territory was once Austrian, Italian and Hungarian territory. It was believed (correctly) that if they remained in the alliance, the other, more dangerous powers would begin to eat away at their independence and demand their territory. Although the new government came under heavy threat by Italy and Germany as soon as it retreated from the war, both Britain and France had guaranteed its independence - the Central Powers had gained too much too quickly, and they refused to allow them any more concessions. Italy refused to go into war alone and Germany had more important and immediate plans. Yugoslavia was spared.



    Just two weeks later, news ripped across Europe. In defiance of the Treaty of Munich and of guarantees of Polish independence, a missive was sent to Poland announcing the reoccupation of the Danzig Corridor and the return to pre-Versailles borders. Any resistance from the Polish military in what was now claimed to be German land would be seen as a sign of aggression against the Third Reich and responded to accordingly. Hitler's Army marched across the border just one hour after the announcement was made.

    Cries for help were immediately sent to Britain and France and even the Soviet Union, and all eyes were on Poland as the Germans attacked Polish garrisons and defensive lines all across the country. The German flagship, KMS Bismarck, fired shells upon the city of Danzig as a German seebattalione seized the harbour. Armoured spearheads thrust into Prussia and, just hours later, into the rest of Poland. Hitler declared in a bold speech that afternoon that "...now the Polish have refused our demands for peace, and resist our movements into German territory. We shall not allow this to pass - Germany shall have its land at any cost!" Poland had been given no time to respond to the demand even if they had been interested in accepted it, and the next morning, France and Britain declared war on the German Reich.

    Europe was in flames. The war had begun.
    Last edited by Saithis; 05-08-2012 at 14:41.
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  4. #64
    General SSmith's Avatar
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    OK, so we're up and running in Europe! From what you haven't said I'm guessing the Republic of China is still holding out against the Japanese? But how is that looking now?

    On the matter of governments-in-exile (e.g. the Netherlands) I think that if you recover one of their provinces from Japan you will have to govern it using occupation policies. Given that Australia is a democracy, that probably means Liberation (no resources) or Collaboration Government are the most you can hope for. I shouldn't worry too much about joining the Allies, though. After all, what's really left to do after WW2 is over?

  5. #65
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    Drag Nach Osten! Recover Primrorsk for the Kangaroos, or alternatively invade South America for the hell of it.
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  6. #66
    Lt. General eqqman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSmith View Post
    ...After all, what's really left to do after WW2 is over?
    *cough* Russia *cough*

    The stuff you discussed at the beginning doesn't seem to have been covered yet by this update... did Australia declare its own war on Germany that for some reason auto-placed you in the Allies, or did you respond to some HPP event where the UK asks for help that did it?

  7. #67
    General SSmith's Avatar
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    The only time I've ever seen the Allies against the Comintern the game was really unplayable - provinces changing hands every hour, time at a near standstill and neither side's AI willing to do anything at all... maybe I was unlucky?

    There is an event in HPP where the UK asks the Commonwealth for help. I guess that's what Saithis is referring to.

  8. #68
    Field Marshal Cybvep's Avatar

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    I cannot wait for the showdown in the Pacific!

    The only time I've ever seen the Allies against the Comintern the game was really unplayable
    Black Crusaders, anyone?

  9. #69
    Lady of the North Star Demi Moderator Saithis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SSmith View Post
    OK, so we're up and running in Europe! From what you haven't said I'm guessing the Republic of China is still holding out against the Japanese? But how is that looking now?

    On the matter of governments-in-exile (e.g. the Netherlands) I think that if you recover one of their provinces from Japan you will have to govern it using occupation policies. Given that Australia is a democracy, that probably means Liberation (no resources) or Collaboration Government are the most you can hope for. I shouldn't worry too much about joining the Allies, though. After all, what's really left to do after WW2 is over?
    That'd be a bit more complicated - Collaboration Government I can work with. I have postwar plans anyway if the war's over quickly enough, and they do require me not being in the Allies to work, if it gets serious enough! I think HPP has an event to leave the faction, I just need to playtest to see how hard it'll be for me to fire it.

    China is still holding out but the situation is bad. The mountains have only slowed, not stopped, the Japanese advance, and Xibei San Ma's reinforcements have only stalled the northern advance, not the southern one.

    Quote Originally Posted by H.Appleby View Post
    Drag Nach Osten! Recover Primrorsk for the Kangaroos, or alternatively invade South America for the hell of it.
    Haha, that'd be interesting, but I'll need a strong enough navy to challenge the US if I want to tackle South America for any reason. Unless of course they go joining enemy factions, in which case I'll gladly secure their resources and power in the name of the King!

    Quote Originally Posted by eqqman View Post
    *cough* Russia *cough*

    The stuff you discussed at the beginning doesn't seem to have been covered yet by this update... did Australia declare its own war on Germany that for some reason auto-placed you in the Allies, or did you respond to some HPP event where the UK asks for help that did it?
    I haven't quite gotten there, but yes, there's an HPP event/decision regarding the Commonwealth joining the war. I'll be showing it at the start of next section, as I refuse to leave the Commonwealth (or a chance for better laws!) alone.

    Quote Originally Posted by SSmith View Post
    The only time I've ever seen the Allies against the Comintern the game was really unplayable - provinces changing hands every hour, time at a near standstill and neither side's AI willing to do anything at all... maybe I was unlucky?

    There is an event in HPP where the UK asks the Commonwealth for help. I guess that's what Saithis is referring to.
    I've seen a few playable postwar scenarios in my personal games, but only time will tell if this one remains playable in an Allies vs. Comintern conflict. If not, then I'll be sad, but that'll be the end of it. If so, the show will go on! My only serious troubles have been increasing instability of the game after 1948.

    Quote Originally Posted by Cybvep View Post
    I cannot wait for the showdown in the Pacific!
    Me either! First the European war, though.
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  10. #70
    Quote Originally Posted by Saithis View Post
    Thanks. Unless I wait until post-war, there will be no easy method of me getting the Dutch East Indies on a permanent basis. What I can do that will effectively work just as well until a US/British D-Day (hopefully) saves the mainland is allow the Japanese to march into Indonesia first, then counter-attack so that I occupy the occupied territory. As the Netherlands will be a government in exile at this point, I believe this means that the territory will return to my direct control and that as an ally I won't take any revolt risk on it, meaning I get full exploitation. The problem is that's only temporary occupation, I have to return it as soon as we have enough VPs restored to liberate the Netherlands. Indochina and Siam are easier, I can just directly puppet/annex them as they'll be Japanese puppets by then, in all likelihood.
    That's a pity, though you should probably demand Indonesia in the post-war settlement as compensation for your efforts. After all, I'm sure the Netherlands will be suitably appreciative of your heroic campaign of liberation... and of the fact that you have many more troops than they do, and that you're much closer to Indonesia than they are...

    As for the Austro-Kiwi union: I can't judge it on its technical merits, but it makes sense story-wise - both countries have a similar cultural background, shared political systems, and cooperate on mutual defense anyway, so it wouldn't be that much of a stretch to have them unite under the set of conditions you've described.

    Quote Originally Posted by SSmith View Post
    After all, what's really left to do after WW2 is over?
    Reunite the entire Commonwealth, of course - after all, there's still a batch of rebels who refuse to recognize His Majesty's properly constituted authority. The historic British claim to Washington, D.C. New London must be redeemed!
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  11. #71
    Lady of the North Star Demi Moderator Saithis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TankOfMidgets View Post
    That's a pity, though you should probably demand Indonesia in the post-war settlement as compensation for your efforts. After all, I'm sure the Netherlands will be suitably appreciative of your heroic campaign of liberation... and of the fact that you have many more troops than they do, and that you're much closer to Indonesia than they are...
    Well Indonesia *would* help an immense amount - Australia's got a lot of native metals and enough coal for my base IC, but weak rares and oil.

    As for the Austro-Kiwi union: I can't judge it on its technical merits, but it makes sense story-wise - both countries have a similar cultural background, shared political systems, and cooperate on mutual defense anyway, so it wouldn't be that much of a stretch to have them unite under the set of conditions you've described.
    Well, the Kiwis give me 4 base IC, 10 energy, 3 metal, 1.5 rares, 4 base manpower. It's not an immense boost on paper, but Aussie starts with 26 base IC (now 28), 73 energy, 72 metal, 14 rares, 1 oil, 14 base manpower. Assuming Aussie cores (which would be sensible), that'd be a 15.3% IC increase, 13.6% energy increase, 4.1% metal increase, 10.7% rare increase, no oil increase and 28% manpower increase. The manpower would definitely take me further than the resources, but the boost isn't huge. I'd have 32 base IC, 83 energy, 75 metal, 15.5 rares and 18 base manpower. I'd be more respectable, but I'd still be suffering major resource shortages due to mobilization laws, good tech/advisors and lack of enough money to import everything I need from ye olde US of A. I don't see it being overpowering or game-ruining but we'll see what other people think of it. Storywise I think it'd be interesting, especially if my politics take a turn to the radical for any reason.
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  12. #72
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    1. The Khalkin Gol thing, is that a sequence of random events or was there actual fighting?
    2. Yugo in Axis, bizarre, but I am pleased about the partizans.
    3. Begun, the clone wars have. What's Australia gonna do about it?
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  13. #73
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    I think you should go forward with the unification with New Zealand, would make sense and would also be pretty cool
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  14. #74
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    So, now that Europe is in flames, will we see Aussies in France? Or perhaps the deserts of Libya? Or are you going to be sensible and keep those men around for the inevitable when Japan gets frisky?

    Great write-up of the escalation from 'diplomatic' land grabs to all-out war.
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGB View Post
    1. The Khalkin Gol thing, is that a sequence of random events or was there actual fighting?
    2. Yugo in Axis, bizarre, but I am pleased about the partizans.
    3. Begun, the clone wars have. What's Australia gonna do about it?
    Khalkin Gol and Changkufeng Lake are both two series of events that trigger actual war and fighting on the Manchurian border. I'm not 100% if they trigger in all circumstances or just if one side has troops near the border. What I do know is that the winner of these brief skirmishes can then choose to escalate the war into a proper full-scale war if they wish. I've seen the USSR conquer China by 1939 this way, it's not pretty.

    Yugo in Axis happens very frequently in any vanilla or HPP game I play. HPP has taken steps to avert it with the coup event that spams partisans, but Germany does invade them and start WW2 that way in at least 30% of my games. It's very common.

    As for Australia, Australia's here to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And I'm all outta gum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Tallfellow View Post
    I think you should go forward with the unification with New Zealand, would make sense and would also be pretty cool
    It would be fun and very easy to pull off in terms of event scripting, I'd enjoy the story of it. I just don't want it to be a cheap way around my economic goal (although less cheap and more realistic than annexing random states around asia/africa).

    Quote Originally Posted by Stuyvesant View Post
    So, now that Europe is in flames, will we see Aussies in France? Or perhaps the deserts of Libya? Or are you going to be sensible and keep those men around for the inevitable when Japan gets frisky?

    Great write-up of the escalation from 'diplomatic' land grabs to all-out war.
    Sensibility is for losers. Also, more importantly, the war with Japan is unlikely to start before Winter 1941 and the war with Germany started in Summer 1939. I expect Italy midway through 1940. That gives me a lot of time to cause some trouble in Europe and Africa, so definitely expect the Australian Expeditionary Army to sail off, collect some trophies (and more importantly, valuable experience!) and then sail home after Japan picks a fight with the Empire. I'll have a large enough navy to sail through any Italian intercept attempts, I'm quite sure.

    Thanks for the support, all! I'll try to get another update up tonight if I can.
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    I agree, it would make alot more sense compaired to start annexing states everywhere just to grow as a country.
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    I certainly have no problem at all if you want a union between Australia and New Zealand for this AAR. After all, you did start off trying to do a bit of multi-player with both countries. Alternatively, maybe you could just step into New Zealand every now and then to give them a bit of guidance and send you expeditionary forces?

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    Lady of the North Star Demi Moderator Saithis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tallfellow View Post
    I agree, it would make alot more sense compaired to start annexing states everywhere just to grow as a country.
    I'll probably have to do at least a little annexing to hit Major Power...maybe I should try and turn Australia Fascist. ;)

    Quote Originally Posted by SSmith View Post
    I certainly have no problem at all if you want a union between Australia and New Zealand for this AAR. After all, you did start off trying to do a bit of multi-player with both countries. Alternatively, maybe you could just step into New Zealand every now and then to give them a bit of guidance and send you expeditionary forces?
    Well, I'm already doing your alternative suggestion - telling them smarter things to build, setting their research down better paths, and I gave all their non-defensive units to me as an expeditionary corps, as you'll see later.



    Chapter 2.0 - Polish Blitz


    August 24th, the German Blitzkrieg would begin. Britain, France and Poland were at war with the German Reich, but her allies in Japan, Italy and Hungary had refused to join the war. Germany would face her enemies alone.



    The call for assistance from the Commonwealth had gone out from Great Britain. Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and Canada would all agree to join in the Great War against Germany. Although the people had little desire for another war, this was deemed a necessary step to strengthen relations with the British Empire. Most of the populace believed that Germany would fall by Christmas, and Australians did not see the point in joining the war. Australian High Command refused to leave Britain alone in this conflict, however, and just two days after the British declaration of war, Australia sent her own.


    Australian Industry on the eve of war.


    Australian industry and military was immediately mobilized. Although she lacked extensive resources and manpower, and her industry was barely a fourth of what the British Isles could produce, her contribution to the war was potentially great. A call for troops was sent out and recruitment letters were immediately dispatched. The Draft would begin, training and equipping new men to reinforce the formations in their preparations. The First Australian Army Expeditionary Army was to muster in Melbourne - from there, they were to prepare to sail for France, where they would support the French Army.


    The Australian 3rd Army Corps was the first to leave for France.


    French and German Army positions along the River Rhine.


    The German Wehrmacht was outnumbered on all sides, with just 900,000 men available to face nearly 1,200,000 French (of which over 2/3 were deployed on the German/Belgian front), 400,000 British Home Army and 800,000 Polish soldiers. Although it had proven a fearsome opponent in the Great War, few believed it had a realistic chance of defeating the Great Powers in war. The Polish outnumbered local German forces, although their air force and navy was significantly weaker and the Polish had only a single brigade of antiquated tanks. French tanks were believed to be superior in firepower and armour, although British intelligence suggested that German engineering was more reliable and that the Wehrmacht's tanks were lighter and quicker in open terrain. It was believed that along the Maginot line, this would favour the French. Thusly, the British and French had amassed the bulk of their anti-tank and armoured units in preparation to defend western Belgium. Little attempt was made to shift French armour or anti-tank equipment to the border of Eastern Belgium, where the thick woods of the Ardennes were believed to be impossible to traverse with any speed. Allied Command did not know it yet, but they had grossly underestimated the manoeuvrability of German armour.




    War had become a justification for Australia to tighten her control of the press and seize personal command of much of the country's native industries. Industrial output was repurposed towards production of war material, to the naval shipyards in Sydney and Melbourne, and especially to the production of infantry weapons and ammunition. Although Australians were skeptical of the war, the country was united behind the Empire and would serve gladly to secure her. Australian propaganda claimed the war would be over by Christmas, and most hoped for a speedy resolution to the war.


    A week after the war began, the RAAF began to launch raids into the North Sea, especially off the coast of Holland.


    Despite the risks involved, the Germans seemed desperate for rare materials and for more iron to fuel their extensive industrial base. Convoys to the Americas and China were still ongoing after the declaration of war, and the Royal Navy and Air Force had begun to launch raids against Axis shipping. The Australian Navy would be occupied with its own shipping and transport needs, but the RAAF was not currently occupied in any activity.


    RAAF Short Sunderland maritime patrol bombers escorting a British convoy.


    The RAAF Short Sunderlands and Supermarine Southamptons would sortie from RAF Coltishall near Norwich, serving a dual purpose of escorting British convoys from the threat of German u-boat attacks and attacking any German convoys spotted by reconnaissance planes. Just two days after operations began, Supermarine Southamptons located a German Convoy just inside the Netherlands' territorial waters, sailing for the safety of German airspace. Over the radio, British command authorized the strike and the ships were assaulted in two waves from the air. Two of the enemy convoy were sunk and several more damaged before night fell.


    Australia's first action of the war was a great success, and the Germans would feel the sting of British air and naval supremacy in the North Sea for some time to come.


    Although the Empire saw great success over European waters and in her skies, the rare assaults by the French had made no progress against well-entrenched German forces. On September 4th, the grinding, slow nature of trench warfare appeared inevitable to Allied Command, who believed that the Maginot Line was unbreakable even against many times its number of defenders. Although German defenses were less numerous, they were more than adequate for pushing back the inadequate French offensives. They did not know it, but if the Allies had been more bold and committed the bulk of their armour and army into a Saar offensive, they could have made substantial gains against a much smaller Wehrmacht whose defensive lines could only take them so far.


    Britain and France's overly defensive stance came with a cost - Warsaw was being encircled as the Polish army was pushed back on all fronts, unable to resist the new Panzer tactics devised by Germany's brilliant generals.


    As the situation in Poland deteroriated, a number of prominent Army generals protested the defensive stance, and proposed a powerful thrust into the Saar. French High Command refused to approve such a "risky" plan and the British felt they did not have the numbers to go alone, so the defensive lines were maintained. Although they went to war for her, it seemed that Britain and France would permit Germany to devour Poland without any serious contest. Then, on September 4th, the bombshell hit.



    The Soviet Union had invaded Poland from the east. Word reached British Intelligence that the Germans and Soviets had signed what was known as the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact. The two powers had drawn a border even before the conquest of Poland was complete, essentially splitting the country in two and promising peace for both nations. Poland's last hopes of survival were crushed and she pleaded to Britain for help from the Russian giant.



    Britain would not help. Although Chamberlain sympathized with their position, there was nothing the British could do to contest the Soviet invasion and war against the Soviet giant and the Third Reich was considered unfeasible. The USSR was permitted the invasion and the British hoped, however vainly, that Stalin would betray Hitler and invade while his eyes were turned west. Poland was left to die.


    The Poles would resist bravely against two opponents, but the battle was fought to no avail.


    September 17th, 1939. After almost a month of battle, the Germans had seized Warsaw and crushed Poland's army. Survivors were evacuated, however small their number, to continue the war from Britain. The Wehrmacht had devised a new type of warfare - the Blitzkrieg, or lightning war. Utilizing spearheads of fast-moving armour supported by brigades of motorized and mechanized infantry, the German formations would feel out and strike at weak points in the enemy lines and pierce them. Once pierced, the rapidly moving mobile units could slip through behind enemy lines to flank and encircle opponents, or simply drive onwards towards weakly defended goals. This doctrine benefited from fast-moving, well-organized armies, and the traditional Great War battle plans of the Polish had proved utterly inadequate in the face of this new type of warfare. The Polish government, hiding in Lvov, was forced to surrender.



    Germany had won the Polish war in under a month, and no Allied offensives had been made into the Ruhr. Industrial production was at an all-time high, and the Luftwaffe returned west to begin contesting allied air superiority. New planes, tanks and weapons were being produced in the hundreds each month, and the German army was growing rapidly in size. Britain and France's nightmares were coming true as Germany began to return to her old heights. French High Command reassured Britain that the Maginot line would hold, and that she should focus on Belgium and the Netherlands. It was there that the truly decisive battles would be held.



    Closer to home, Australia had more to worry about. Just five days after the Polish surrender, news reached them that the Kuomintang in China had been defeated and that only the southwestern warlords and the Ma remained capable of fighting.


    China now fell under the Japanese Collaboration Government, who would loyally serve their overlords in Tokyo.


    With the vast resources of China at their disposal, Japan would be able to elevate herself from a second-rate great power onto the same level as the British and Germans. In time, they could even become as fearsome as the Soviets and Americans, or so it was feared by the Australians. Australia continued her preparations in secret - little news had been made of the Australian capital ship under construction, as it was shrouded in secrecy. Not even the British knew exactly what her specifications were, but the Japanese were unconcerned. She held dominance in the Pacific's waters, and everyone knew it. No one expected Australia to be able to turn the tide.



    Although Poland had fallen, on the 1st of October, Moscow sent a powerful ultimatum to the Baltic States. These countries had once been a part of the Russian Empire, and had earned their freedom during the long, bloody civil war. The Reds had long dreamt of returning Russia's many possessions to her, and with the reclamation of Eastern Poland and its all-important Belarussian and Ukrainian territories, just Finland, Lithuania, Estonia and Latvia remained. Without the Germans to worry about, Soviet imperialism would run rampant. The ultimatum was a reasonable one - rather than face annexation, the current governments would be permitted a degree of autonomy, and work as client states of the Soviet Union rather than as member republics. The Baltic States feared a complete loss of sovereignty would follow, and that the Soviets would treat them as harshly as Stalin had treated his own people in the Great Purge; they declined.

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  19. #79
    Field Marshal Stuyvesant's Avatar
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    When the best news of the last month is that the Baltic Republics have not yet succumbed to the Soviets, you know it's been a bleak one. Poland gone - that was to be expected. But the fall of China so quickly? That is going to have an impact in the Pacific. Does China contribute a lot to the Japanese IC/resource situation? If so, I'm fearing the fleets they'll put to sea, especially if there's going to be a lull until late 1941 before the Pacific War flares up again.

    Oh, and:

    Quote Originally Posted by Saithis
    Sensibility is for losers.
    <Shuffles on sensible shoes> Ouch.
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    Man, China turned into an ugly mess there at the end.
    Faugh a ballagh!

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